Hike #31: Twin Bridges Trail

Distance hiked: 6km
Location: Chutes Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: July 5, 2020

In the late 1800s to 1930s the area around Chutes Provincial Park was used for logging. In the winter, trees were toppled, cut into sections and dragged from the forest and placed onto the ice-covered river. In the spring, when the ice and snow started to melt and raise the water levels, the pine logs floated down the Aux Sables River to the mouth of the Spanish River. To reduce the risk of logs jamming up the river, special chutes were built around difficult sections.

Most of the land that became Chutes Provincial Park was once owned by the Spanish River Lumber Company, which used it for pasturing their horses. Chutes Provincial Park was established in 1963 and was named for a 60-metre log chute which was built at the main falls to help direct logs safely downstream.

We camped at Chutes the previous night. The park is relatively small (there are 130 campsites) and was surprisingly busier than expected. But then again, it was the Canada Day long weekend and close to Sudbury. We managed to snag an awesome site (#97), which offered great privacy, was in the radio-free zone and we could also hear the sound of the falls from our site.

We could also access the one trail in the park, Twin Bridges Trail, from the back of our campsite. The trail features (as the name suggests), two bridges, three viewing platforms, and great views of the Aux Sables River and the Seven Sisters rapids.

The first scenic lookout is located near the start of the trailhead and overlooks the main falls from the Aux Sables River. There’s a series of steps down to a viewing platform. There are a few interpretive signs here which explains more about the history of the area and how the park was formed.

Unfortunately there are no signs of the logging chute today.

We walked back up the steps and started hiking along the Twin Bridges Trail. The entire trail is 6km, but you can shorten it as the trail consists of two interconnecting loops.

The trail is well marked by a series of blue markers on trees. There is also a map of the trail at each junction to assist with navigation.

The second scenic lookout is located about a kilometre from the trailhead at the base of the Seven Sisters Rapids. Most of the views are obstructed by trees though.

After the second scenic lookout are the two bridges the trail was named after. The bridges cross the Aux Sables River and were built in 2001 by hand. The steel on the bridges is a special alloy that never needs painting, but will eventually turn a dark brown colour as it oxidizes and seals.

After crossing the two bridges, the trail loops through the forest. We hiked clockwise around the loop, starting with the outer portion. The terrain was progressively more rough and rugged and the scenery rather uneventful.

The views start to improve once the path follows along the Aux Sables River. The third scenic lookout is located here, which provides a nice view of the rapids.

Once we looped back to the junction, we crossed over the two bridges, and hiked back to the trailhead. Overall, it took us just over an hour to complete the trail. We returned to our campsite to pack up our tent and finish organizing the car for our drive back home to Toronto.

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My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here

27 thoughts on “Hike #31: Twin Bridges Trail

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. One of the reasons why I go camping is to be surrounded by nature and have some peace and quiet. That is why I usually always try to book a site in the radio-free zone (if the campground has a designated radio-free area). Some parks also offer a pet-free and radio-free zone.

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  1. ourcrossings says:

    Beautiful photos and beautiful views of the waterfall and rapids! I’v grown to love your little hikes and nice quintessential Ontario scenery. The trail is well groomed and very wide; are the mountain biking allowed too or is it for hikers only? Thanks for sharing and have a good day. The weather conditions are looking promising in Ireland and we are heading to explore Connemara National Park. Take care 😊 Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Aw, shucks. I’ve had such a great time exploring new areas in Ontario since signing up for the 52 Hike Challenge. It’s certainly made me appreciate how beautiful and scenic my home province is. Some parks offer trails that are shared by hikers and bikers, but the ones we typically hike are for hikers only. Hopefully you had a wonderful visit to Connemara National Park. The leaves are starting to change colour here so I’m hoping to get some good fall hiking in. Take care.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Why thank you. The falls can be a bit deafening depending on where your site is located. While we could hear the falls from our site, we were far enough away that we could still have a conversation without having to yell. As an added bonus, the sites near the falls are all in a radio-free zone too.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for kind words. And agreed, waterfalls are always so much fun to photograph. This trail was great as there were so many scenic lookouts, which provided great opportunities to view (and take pictures of) the rapids and many waterfalls along the way. I bet this trail would be breathtaking in the fall when the leaves are changing colour.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I would highly recommend visiting Chutes. It is a rather small park (and campground), but it is very family friendly. It’s also conveniently located just off the Trans-Canada Highway between Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie.

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  2. Diana says:

    I love the first waterfall, how it’s roaring on the left and so calm and branched on the right! Also, there is an Ausable River in upstate New York… I have to wonder if it’s named for the same thing as the Aux Sables River?

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      According to google, the River aux Sables originates at Lac aux Sables and flows for 85km south to Chutes Provincial Park. It’s all very confusing because there’s the Aux Sables River (also referred to as River aux Sables) in Sudbury Ontario, Ausable River in Ontario, Rivière aux Sables in Quebec, Au Sable River in Michigan, and Ausable River in New York. Apparently these are all different rivers. I guess they ran out of ideas of what to name all these rivers.

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      This is such a lovely trail. We were a bit hesitant to visit Chutes because there is only one hiking trail in the park and it’s relatively short. But it’s the only park between Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie, so we stayed here to break up the drive. I’m glad that we did because we had a wonderful time here. And those views of the falls are alone worth the visit.

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  3. bernieLynne says:

    You are so going to make the 52 hikes! What a great goal and a perfect year to explore responsibily in your own province. I am not surprised the campground was busy but was the hike? It’s always so wonderful to get out into nature like that. I enjoy the history at the beginning as well seems that’s one of my “things”. Great post

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    • WanderingCanadians says:

      This turned out to be a great year to sign up for this challenge. Because of the pandemic I’ve had a lot more free time to go hiking and explore new trails here in Ontario. As of today I’ve completed 46 of the 52 hikes. The campground was fully booked, but the trail itself wasn’t too busy. Most people just go to the first maybe second viewing platform and then turn around. I’ve really been enjoying learning more about the history of the various parks and areas that I’ve hiked through. I’m exercising my body and my brain. Ha. Take care.

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